Page ContentWhat Does an Endocrinologist Do?Endocrinologists are specially trained doctors who diagnose diseases that affect the glands.Kelsey-Seybold’s endocrinologists treat hormone disorders such as diabetes that knock-out the body’s ability to function properly. Diabetes is important because it affects so many people – children as well as adults. Our endocrinologists also diagnose and treat thyroid diseases, metabolic disorders, and over or under production of hormones. Some of the common conditions treated by Kelsey-Seybold endocrinologists are described below. DiabetesPatients with diabetes have too much sugar in their blood. Recent studies have found that controlling blood sugar helps prevent serious problems that can be caused by diabetes.These can include problems with the eyes, kidneys and nerves, which can lead to blindness, dialysis or in some cases, amputation.Diabetes affects more than 20 million Americans. Over 40 million Americans have pre-diabetes.Several things happen when food is digested: A sugar called glucose enters the bloodstream. Glucose is a source of fuel for the body. An organ called the pancreas makes insulin. The role of insulin is to move glucose from the bloodstream into muscle, fat and liver cells where it can be used as fuel.Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to control blood sugar. People with diabetes have high blood sugar because their pancreas does not make enough insulin, their muscle, fat and liver cells don’t respond to insulin normally, or both.Your Kelsey-Seybold endocrinologist treats diabetes with diet and medications, including insulin. He or she also works closely with your primary care physician to control and monitor blood sugar to prevent health problems.In addition, nurses who are certified as diabetes educators (CDEs) and work as an extension of our endocrinologists, help to educate and treat patients with the appropriate diets to assist in attaining a favorable outcome. Click here to see related stories. Thyroid DiseasePatients with thyroid disease often have problems with their energy levels. They may also have problems with muscle strength, emotions, weight control and tolerating heat or cold.An endocrinologist treats patients who have too much or too little thyroid hormone caused by either an overactive or underactive thyroid. They help patients with thyroid disease reach a hormone balance by replacing or blocking thyroid hormone.The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck, just below the voice box. It produces hormones that help the body control metabolism. Thyroid hormone is produced in response to another hormone released by the pituitary gland.There are four main types of thyroid disease:Hyperthyroidism – too much thyroid hormone Hypothyroidism – too little thyroid hormone Benign (non-cancerous) thyroid disease Thyroid cancer Click here for a related story. Bone DiseaseOsteomalacia, more commonly known as rickets, causes bones to soften while osteoporosis is a disease that weakens the skeleton. Both are bone diseases that an endocrinologist diagnoses and treats.Osteoporosis is the most common type of bone disease. An estimated 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, as well as another 18 million who have low bone mass, or osteopenia, which may eventually lead to osteoporosis if not treated.Osteoporosis occurs when the body fails to form enough new bone, when too much old bone is reabsorbed by the body, or both.Certain hormones act to protect bone tissue, and when hormone levels are abnormal, bones can lose calcium and weaken. Menopause in women, loss of testicle function in men and aging may put certain people at risk for bone fractures.The leading cause of osteoporosis is a drop in estrogen in women during menopause and a drop in testosterone in men. Women, especially those older than 50, get osteoporosis more often than men.Kelsey-Seybold endocrinologists treat other disorders that can affect bones, such as too much parathyroid hormone and long-term use of steroids.Kelsey-Seybold’s Osteoporosis Clinic is dedicated to treating patients who have been unsuccessful with the previous treatment of their Osteoporosis or Osteopenia. ObesityEndocrinologists treat patients who are overweight or obese, sometimes because of metabolic and hormonal problems.Thyroid, adrenal, ovarian and pituitary disorders rarely cause obesity. Endocrinologists also identify factors linked with obesity, such as insulin resistance and genetic problems. Pituitary GlandThe pituitary is often called the master gland of the body because it controls other glands and makes several important hormones.The over- or under-production of pituitary hormones can cause an imbalance that can lead to infertility, menstrual disorders, growth disorders and too much cortisol production (Cushing’s syndrome).Your endocrinologist can help control these conditions with medications and refer patients who need surgery. HypertensionHypertension is high blood pressure and it is a risk factor for heart disease. Up to 10 percent of people have hypertension because of too much aldosterone, a hormone produced in the adrenal glands. About half of these cases are caused by growths that can be removed with surgery.Hypertension is the term used to describe high blood pressure. You have a higher risk of high blood pressure if you have a family history of the disease. High blood pressure is more common in African Americans than Caucasians. Smoking, obesity and diabetes are all risk factors for hypertension.Conditions such as the metabolic syndrome, or a rare adrenal growth called a pheochromocytoma, may also cause a hormone imbalance that leads to hypertension.These conditions also can be treated successfully by an endocrinologist. Lipid DisordersPatients with lipid disorders have trouble maintaining normal levels of body fats.Endocrinologists are trained to detect factors that may be related to lipid disorders, such as hypothyroidism – a hormone imbalance caused by thyroid conditions – drug use, or genetic or metabolic conditions.Lipid disorders can be found in several conditions that require special management, including the metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome and obesity.Special diets, exercise and medications may be prescribed to manage hyperlipidemia and other lipid disorders.Kelsey-Seybold Clinic’s Primary Prevention Lipid Clinic is dedicated to helping people who are at risk of developing lipid disorders. Click here to find out more.